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Jazz Articles


Miles Davis: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5

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If ever a band of Miles Davis' deserved the high-intensity inspection/dissection represented by The Bootleg Series Vol. 5, it is his second great quintet. With that man with the horn as the great catalyst, the rapport between pianist Herbie Hancock, saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams is virtually unparalleled in the history of jazz, but to hear the machinations behind their creations here is almost as fascinating as the 'finished product' itself (liner notes rightly suggest ...


50 Summers of Music: Montreux Jazz Festival

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50 Summers of Music: Montreux Jazz Festival Arnaud Robert 398 Pages ISBN: 978-2-84597-558-3 Montreux Jazz Festival/Editions Textuel 2016 It's neither the oldest nor the largest, but Montreux Jazz Festival is, arguably, the most famous music festival in the word. It's a notable and perhaps unlikely badge of honor for Montreux, described by Deep Purple in the early 1970s as “a sleepy little town full of old ladies and tea rooms." To ...


Miles Davis: In Time, All Changes

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Considered the most influential small jazz group of the middle 1960s, the Miles Davis “Second Great Quintet" has often been imitated but never equaled. Critical consensus holds that the revival of jazz in the 1980s was inspired by the six albums the Quintet recorded from 1965-1968. But a set of particular cultural and personal dynamics shaped the Quintet's recordings in ways that are unrepeatable. Mobile Fidelity's SACD reissue series of Miles Davis' Columbia LPs shines a spotlight on these rightfully ...


Robert Glasper, Miles Davis: Everything's Beautiful

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Miles Davis birthed cool in 1949 and nearly took it to the grave with him 52 years later. His first venture into hip-hop and last studio album, Doo-Bop, represented the least cool moment for America's icon of coolness itself. By the '90s, Miles' prowess as a trumpeter had only waned from legendary to excellent, but younger musicians had supplanted his position on the stylistic frontier, so his bid at the “street music" of his time came off as corny.


Miles Davis Quintet: Miles Smiles

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Without a hint of a doubt, the trumpeter Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet which he led in the mid-'60s rekindled his fire for music resulting in exuberant and adventurous music. Davis was reenergized by his young band which vitality and enthusiasm has made a big difference. Not only did it stretch Miles' boundaries, as the band was taking chances and experimenting, but it also helped him get through a difficult period in his personal life (the deaths of his parents, ...


Miles Ahead Soundtrack / Live in Tokyo 1975

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Miles Davis / Various Artists Miles Ahead (motion picture soundtrack) Sony Legacy 2016 It's hard to imagine why the world would ever need yet another Miles Davis compilation. We're talking about a catalogue big enough to fill its own library and eclectic enough to give you whiplash for the ears if you skim through it too fast. If you start comparing albums even a year or two apart, you're often looking at completely ...


Miles Ahead: A Powerhouse Film, But is it the Truth?

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Don Cheadle Miles Ahead Sony Pictures Classics 2015 Miles Davis happens to have been actor Don Cheadle's long-time hero, and he mulled over the idea of a film about him for several years. In contemplating his directorial and screenwriting debut based on Davis' life, Cheadle could have chosen among several formats: a chronological account; the story of his music with documentary footage; or perhaps a “newsflash" version of key events from the trumpeter's tumultuous life ...


Co-Improvisation: Explaining the Magic

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When we listen to great jazz performances, we pay most attention to the soloists, some of whom become our musical heroes. In that respect, jazz is an affirmation of the individual, the uniqueness and liberation of either the “free and joyful spirit," of whom there was none greater than Louis Armstrong, or the arduous struggle of the existential hero to become free, a musician whose inborn talent and valor met the awesome challenges of life and music. Perhaps the most ...

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